Payal Tadvi suicide: Accused not hardcore criminals, no need for police custody, says HC
The crime branch can take accused out of jail for questioning between 9am and 6pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the court said.Updated: Jun 07, 2019 08:14 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday refused to grant Mumbai Police’s crime branch custody of the three doctors charged with abetting the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi. Observing that Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal are not “hardcore criminals”, the court said the crime branch can take them out of Byculla Jail between 9am and 6pm for interrogation, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The crime branch had approached the HC on Tuesday seeking custody of Dr Ahuja, Dr Mehare and Dr Khandelwal. On Thursday, justice SS Shinde heard the crime branch’s plea.
Appearing for the crime branch, advocate Raja Thakare said the investigation was transferred to the crime branch on May 30 and it did not get an opportunity to interrogate the three doctors since a lower court did not grant the crime branch custody of the accused. Thakare said it was necessary to subject the trio, who had not cooperated with Agripada police, to custodial interrogation.
Advocate Abad Ponda, representing the arrested accused, argued that his clients were innocent and had only criticised the deceased for not doing her job properly. He suggested the crime branch interrogate the trio at Byculla Jail, where they are lodged till June 12. The accused have applied for bail, but will not press the same till June 12.
Thakare said the crime branch needed custody at least for 48 hours in order to conduct searches at their hostel rooms and also to confront them with new matter collected in the investigation.
Having heard both sides, Justice Shinde observed, “They [the accused] are not hardcore criminals. They are medical officers attached to a government hospital.” He gave the crime branch permission to take the trio out of Byculla Jail for interrogation at 9am in the morning and return them to the jail by 6pm. The crime branch can interrogate the three accused on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On May 22, Dr Payal Tadvi, a second-year gynaecology student of TN Topiwala National Medical College attached to BYL Nair Hospital, committed suicide in her hostel room. Agripada police registered a case against the three accused, who are third-year students at the same institution, after Dr Tadvi’s parents filed a complaint that the three had harassed Dr Tadvi for being a tribal and a quota student.